Sunday, August 2, 2009

Sunday Salon 15 - Challenge Gluttony

Sunday SalonWasn't it just a few weeks ago that I joined three new challenges? It's funny because at the beginning of the year I didn't want to join any challenges. I was even late joining the classics challenge, which I'm hosting!

In years past I've been great about finishing my challenges and sticking to the commitment. I'll admit that I got a little burned out after last year. My reading was too dictated by those lists and I kept getting antsy for "fun" reads. Well, aren't all reads supposed to be fun? Maybe not but you know what I mean. Over the past few months I've thrown everything out the window, though, and am doing whatever I want in terms of challenges. I'm completely and utterly overbooked, can't possibly finish them all, want to tear my hair out if I think about it too much, so I'm not thinking. Just playing. And having fun.

So--I present the three new challenges I joined this week:

Japanese Challenge 3The darling Dolce Bellezza is hosting the third installment of the Japanese Literature Challenge. I LOVE this challenge and have been waiting patiently for months for it to start again.

Bellezza is only requiring ONE book, but I've got three on my list:
1. Woman in the Dunes - Abe
2. Wind-up Bird Chronicles - Murakami
3. Goodbye Tsugumi - Yoshimoto

DogEar ChallengeJeane from Dog Ear Diary is hosting her first challenge! The appropriately named DogEar Reading Challenge. Her challenge is a fun mixture of many different things. You probably have many of these topics on your list already!

My list (subject to change)
1. A book featuring an animal - Um, seeking good suggestions!
2. An adult fantasy book - Jonathon Strange and Mr. Norrell
3. A YA or juvenile fiction book - Speak
4. A non-fiction book on an obscure topic: My Year of Living Biblically
5. A book about plants, gardening, or food - seeking good suggestions!

Random Reading ChallengeWendy from Caribousmom is hosting the Random Reading Challenge, which I was a little timid to join at first, but I figured--what the heck? If she'll let me choose randomly from my challenge list, that would be great. If not, then I have plenty of other books to choose from. Basically you assign your books a number and then go to to generate your next read.

There is no list--since this challenge is random. Should be a lot of fun!

How do you feel about challenges? Have you participated in many or are you just starting out? Is your reading dictated by those lists or do you allow yourself to cheat a bit? Do you have any favorite challenges? Any challenges you'd like to see in the future? Are you staying away from challenges completely? Let's hear your view!

And as always, Happy Sunday!


bermudaonion said...

I tried 2 challenges last year and bombed both of them, so I swore I wouldn't do them any more. Well, I signed up for 2 not long ago and again, I'm not doing to so great on either one!

Jenny said...

I'm new to being active in all the book blogs so I haven't done any of these challenges before. I know, though, from making my own challenges and from playing in a million swap games at paperbackswap that even if I do join them, they have to be just for fun. I, too, have to remember not to let them rule my life and what I read! And the challenges I made for myself were pretty simple but I didn't meet them all last year and that just has to be okay. I try and think of it as something I wan to try and do but not something I have to.

Melissa O. said...

Well, I am very careful and selective about joining challenges. There are so many out there, it's unbelievable! I've joined 4 all year and so far seem to be doing OK on all of them--I actually just completed one last week.

So for me, it's so far, so good. I think because I was so selective, that helped me not feel too overwhelmed. However, one thing I do want/need to do is join a challenge that will help me branch out in my reading a bit. Maybe next year?? :-)

serendipity_viv said...

I only join new ones when I finish other ones and so far I have completed all the ones I have joined. The only ones outstanding are the 100+ books, 1% Well Read and A to Z author and title, but I have until the end of the year. I joined the one run by Caribousmum too.

Anonymous said...

I joined a few for the first time at the beginning of the year, but I publicly gave them up pretty early on. I was stressing myself out with them, and the added tasks of linking reviews to a challenge site, etc., didn't help. Now I'm thinking about joining one or two again, but I think they'll be easier. I hope.

Jess said...

How about The Art of Racing in the Rain? I believe the narrator is a dog.

Lisa said...

I am HORRIBLE at challenges. I even failed my own challenge a few years ago. I'm pretty sure I'm gonna fail the NFF!

I suggeste either A Homemade Life by Wizenberg or Animal Vegetable Miracle by Kingsolver for a book about food.

Anonymous said...

If we can challenge ourselves to having fun, rather than compulsively finishing every single one (note to self) then it's all worthwhile. That's why made the JLC3 one book, in the hopes that it would be simple and fun, not difficult and annoying. I know just what you mean about not having time for "fun" books, due to all the reviews I've accepted. Isn't all reading supposed to be fun as you said? Yes!

Bottom line: I'm glad you joined, my friend. If you get to all three selections great. If not, no worries.

Amanda said...

I've decided to only participate in challenges that are like the random one - no lists ahead of time - or ones with very small numbers. I take challenges too seriously and try to finish them way faster than necessary, which has led to my too-fast reading this year. I'm a little burnt out, but that hasn't stopped me. You'd think I'd learn...

Becky said...

I failed the first challenge I joined because I read the fun stuff I wanted to, and not the books I needed to. :) Now, I join challenges that fit my life. I'm not sure if I can complete them all, but I feel okay about what I've joined. We'll see! Good luck with the one's you're working on, and I hope your trip is going well. :)

Wendy said...

So glad you're joining the Random Reading Challenge...I hope it will be fun to do :)

I love reading challenges, but I've become more selective about which ones I join...and I never stress if I don't finish them. It is all supposed to be fun, in my opinion!!

Literary Feline said...

My first year of blogging I did so well with all the challenges I joined. I joined quite a few and managed to finish them all. Last year I cut back on them and didn't do so well. This year I joined even more and am floundering a bit--some more than others. I think I like thinking of the books I'm going to read for the challenges much more than I like actually reading the books for them . . . I'm seriously thinking of not joining any challenges next year. Except for maybe three that I never get to join in that I've been wanting to because I'm always so busy with other challenges.

I don't beat myself up if I don't complete a challenge anymore. I got over that quickly.

Jeane said...

It's my first year doing challenges, so of course I signed up for way too many! I'm hoping it will help me cut down the height of my TBR pile. And then I was crazy and went and started one- I'm so glad you joined!

Melody said...

What can I say? Reading challenges are addictive!!! :D

I joined three lately... earlier I had told myself that I'd not join any but see what it leads me to... :P

CJ said...

I'm relatively challenge free by choice. Too much pressure for something I do to relax, you know?

As for suggestions for your book with an animal, The Immortals series I just finished (YA fantasy) is about a girl who can communicate with animals. One of her constant companions is her pony, Cloud. If you like that sort of thing, it's a fun, easy read. Perfect for a challenge.


Stephanie said...

Have you read THe Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein? It's narrated by a dog and would be a great fit for the Dog Ear Challenge!!

Ana S. said...

Sometimes I feel like I'm done it with challenges, but then I go and sign up for just one more :P Some have become more like reading events, so even if I cut back I can't imagine not doing those.

A book featuring an animal: The Knife of Never Letting Go :P Seriously, coolest talking dog ever. He's still completely doggish! And not silly! And awesome!

Lesley said...

I have done horribly at most challenges I've joined but in the past that hasn't stopped me, although I did feel some of what you've expressed (wanting 'fun' reads and whatnot) but I'm having enough trouble even keeping up with my blogging lately let alone follow the various challenges or sign up for them.

Good luck and enjoy yourself!

Karen Beth said...

Have you read Julie and Julia yet? That might be a fun book about food. I've read mixed reviews about the book, and I haven't seen the movie, but they are both on my radar. :)

kay - Infinite Shelf said...

I tend to join challenges that go along what I already planned on reading. So basically, I just "use" the challenges to keep track of my reading and meet people reading the same things :)

Anonymous said...

I have joined a few challenges for the first time this year but have noticed that I don't pay much attention to them. But Challenges are so tempting :)

Anonymous said...

I was doing a great job reading, blogging and participating in challenges until google decided to block me out of my account for two whole months! Now I am struggling to get back in the groove!

Melissa said...

I've signed up for lots of challenges and only finished 1 so far. That hasn't stopped me from signing up for more though!

For animal book, I'd recommend The Art of Racing in the Rain.

Divya said...

It was this year that I first participated in challenges; I am on Orbis Terrarum and the Classics Challege so far.
Though they help me channelize what I want to read, sometimes I feel I tend to drop or procrastinate reading certain books because they dont fit in the challenges; But then I could always add a new challenge to my list and fit them in :)
The Japanese literature seems interesting... Will join too ..

The Reading Momster said...

From last year, I have joined MANY challenges. And successfully completed just one OT-08 that was from Bethany! Now, this year have tons of them - i am also there for the Japanese challenge!

But i figured it out a long ago is that working on the challenge gave me a kind of motivation to move through my list of TBR! I didn't take it too hard on me that I mostly failed :D!

So I have it figured out!
Call of the wild is a good book - it is a classic with Buck, the dog as the main protagonist!

tanabata said...

I'm glad you're joining in the Japanese Lit challenge.

And I totally agree that challenges are meant to be fun. I learned that I don't do well sticking to a set list so now I just choose as I go along which helps a lot. I still probably won't finish them all but it's fun to try.

Kim L said...

I tried a bunch of challenges last year and did pretty well but this year I'm only doing well at the graphic novels challenge. Bleh I am such a slacker this year!

Lisa said...

I'm loving the idea of the Random REading Challenge because it will force me to read the books in my TBR pile. I cheated a little and only picked books from the pile that is borrowed books.

bethany (dreadlock girl) said...

I did SO many challenges last year, I did opt out of most of them this year, plus I am struggling to keep up on my own challenge. Those ones you posted about have been calling my name, and I am trying to resist....we'll see!! ;)

Beth (BBRB) said...

For your "food" book try any of Michael Pollen's books. Awesome!!

Trish @ Love, Laughter, Insanity said...

*Bermuda - I haven’t been doing great on the challenges either, but it’s fun to make the lists!

*Jenny - Challenges are a lot of fun and I tend to stick to them better than personal challenges, but it’s easy to get caught up in them. If you do decide to join (they’re a great way to meet other bloggers), just remember to have fun!!

*Melissa - Congrats on recently finishing a challenge! There are so many great ones out there that it’s hard to resist them all. I try to join challenges that are out of my normal comfort zone.

*Vivienne - Wow—you are much more disciplined than I am. I used to join when I finished an old one, but now everything’s fair game. :P

*Wordlily - Linking reviews can be kind of a pain and I know from hosting two challenges that a LOT of people don’t leave their links. But when the challenges start inducing stress, it’s time to step back.

*Jess - Great suggestion for an animal book, but I’ve already read The Art of Racing. :)

*Lisa - Well, I’m pretty sure I’m going to fail at the classics and NFF challenges, so…whatever! :D Ya, I’ve been hearing good things about Animal Vegetable Miracle, so I’ll have to check that out.

*Dolcebellezza - I’ve been really focusing this year on trying to have fun with my reading. I haven’t been reading as much this year, but I’ve been trying to at least enjoy what I am reading. Fun fun fun—we all need a little more fun. :) And thanks for hosting—I love the JLC.

*Amanda - I have to kind of snicker a bit at your recent feelings for challenges. Remember long ago when you said you only liked the year long ones? :P But yes, I like the short ones as well and definitely like when you can change your choices into the challenge.

*mjmbecky - I think the most important thing is to have fun the with challenges and not make them into a chore. You’d be surprised at how many people join and don’t finish, though, if that makes you feel better?

*Wendy - I’ve stopped stressing over the reading challenges too. Sometimes it’s difficult not to feel a tad guilty, but that’s a fleeting feeling for me. :) Thanks for hosting the Random Reading Challenge—really looking forward to it!

*Lit Feline - The past two years I’ve joined a number of challenges and completed them all. This year…well…I’ll be lucky to finish half. I’m curious to know what the three challenges are that you’ve been wanting to join but never have!

*Jeane - I love the randomness of your challenge, so of course I couldn’t resists. Challenges are great for me to cut my TBR down as well—if I’m good and don’t buy new books for them! :)

*Melody - I’ve given up resisting challenges. Even if I don’t finish them all, I hope to have a lot of fun trying. They are addictive!

*CJ - I’ll have to look into The Immortals series since I’m drawing a complete blank on animal books—not sure I have any eligibles on the shelf.

Trish @ Love, Laughter, Insanity said...

*Stephanie - Yes, I read Art of Racing last year. Cute book but I’ll have to find something else for the challenge. :(

*Nymeth - Ooooh, I remember reading your review of The Knife of Never Letting Go. I’ll have to put that on the list (even though the dog is a talking one) :P

*Lesley - I think it’s OK to let yourself not finish a challenge now and then. I guess maybe it defeats the purpose of a “challenge” but I tend to look at them more as a community builder rather than something to succeed or fail at. I hate that word “fail”!

*Karen Beth - I’ve been thinking about Julie and Julia for the food book—sounds like such a fun book and the movie looks good too. Love Meryl Streep!

*Kay - I sometimes use challenges for books that I had planned reading as well, and I agree that challenges are a great way to meet other bloggers who might be reading the same types of things as you are.

*Violetcrush - All of the different categories are so much fun for challenges! It’s funny how everyone reacts to challenges differently—some people go all out and some people just take them in stride.

*Ramya - That dang Google! Hope you can get back into the swing of things quickly—we’ve certainly missed you!

*Melissa - Thanks for the Art of Racing suggestion—I read it last year and it was a fun book. I’ve only completed one challenge this year, too, but I keep joining more!

*Divya - I hope you do join the Japanese challenge—it’s such a fun one! I know what you mean about putting aside books because they don’t fit challenges. I’m bad about that also!

*Veens - I think the important thing is to not get down on yourself for not finishing the challenges. Even if you just read one or two books out of your comfort zone, I think that’s great. Love Bethany’s OT challenge! Oh ya—Call of the Wild! Great suggestion, Veens.

*Tanabata - Unfortunately I’m not disciplined to go without a list for the challenges, but I’ve learned that I need to let myself change the list if I need to. Love the JLC—wouldn’t miss it even if I were totally overbooked. :)

*Kim L - I totally should have done the graphic novels challenge but didn’t for some reason. I think that’s when I was still on the ban. :P

*Lit and Life - I plan on using the Random Reading challenge for my TBR pile as well—should be interesting to see how it goes!

*Bethany - Hey girl—I’m struggling to keep up with my own challenges, too! I know how it goes, but what can you do. I think you’d love the Japanese Lit Challenge!

*Beth - Will definitely check out Michael Pollen! Thanks for the great suggestion!